Monday, September 27, 2010

9.26.10 Col de la Columbiere

We launched a little late thanks to some late onset of jet lag my body decided to have. Went to bed at midnight last night and woke up at 4 and stared at the ceiling for an hour. I got out of bed and took a Melatonin trying to force feed my body to sleep. Evidently I need to drink more vino.

Ben had time to run to the bakery this morning and get a few tasty treats for the preride meal and we made ourselves a feast. Eggs, bacon, two pastries, some bread, fruit. I was thinking that’s plenty but I didn’t have near the foresight necessary for riding the Alps.

With our late start some guys were already head home; back to there lives, wives, and jobs. We got to the main intersection next to the lake near our apartment and we see this group of guys come flying in. Two of the guys had, I’m not shittin’ you, disc’s on they’re rear wheels. What in gods name were those dudes up too? They must have been up to a morning crush session with the boys around the lake. Music to my ears whoo whoo whoo whoo… Ben and I pealed out toward the Col of the day. But not before stopping and getting some air in our tires at the local bike rental shop.

I’m not lying. You leave our front door wander through town a little bit and it’s pretty much uphill from there. We must have climbed for the first two and half hours today to the top of the Col de la Columbiere. The country side is so beautiful here. So Majestic. They take such pride in their home and property. Everything is so well kept.

After climbing for about 45 min we road up on the sign that we have been planning to see. After days of travel and months of planning you see the sign that tells you that you are about to start one of climbs that the boys of the peleton don’t look fondly upon and it hits you. You’re in France. Riding through history. Men were made here, dreams came true on this very hill, men that I, you, look up to. It’s brilliant, gorgeous, tear jerking. It’s finally reality. What you’ve been watching on TV isn’t just on TV anymore. The suffering is reality, you finally understand why they wear the faces they do even when you aren’t conquering these climbs at break neck speeds.

There really isn’t anything like riding the Alps except riding the Alps. Don’t let anyone ever convince you otherwise. It’s like that saying that annoys me to no end “It’s like riding a bike” B.S. nothing is like riding a bike, nothing. Come ride them, climb with goats by your side, snow falling on the climbs, bone chilling descents. Mountains that have no slope just go straight up with these roads just tucked neatly into a very tight place. This place is like no other, make no mistake about it.

We dropped off the other side and even the descents are fabulous. It’s like they made the road for the cyclist. For the guy trying to reward himself for the millimeters of teeth he just ground off getting to the top of this monster. Fast and fluid, no need for breaks; just sit down and let ‘er fly.

After gaining nearing 4000’ feet in elevation you’d think the day was over but you’re in the Alps my friend. Come here expecting that you will end every ride with uphill and reward yourself with a downhill at some point. Our total ride today was just a hair under 140km with just about 2300 meters of climbing, with a running time of about 6.5 hours. A normal ride around here from what I can gather.

This was an epic second day on the bike for sure that I won’t soon forget, with pictures to prove it. Tomorrow is an easier day of meandering in the valley and climbing one or two smaller Col’s that still make any of the west hills look like cute little bumps in the road. Bike riders here are skinny and fast because there really isn’t any choice. You either know how to climb for 2 or 3 hours at a shot or you find something else to do with your time.

In the short time I’ve been here, the French haven’t been the nicest. I see what everyone, even Rick Steves, is talking about. But one thing that I must tip my hat to about the French, these people have figured out a way to coexist with cyclist on VERY narrow roads, on coming traffic, and dicey situations. I never once felt uncomfortable, never once got yelled at, never once got buzzed, and noone ever yelled “Go Lance“. How is it I ask you that a place much more densely populated then the U.S. has found a way for skinny little dudes on slow going bikes and cars going a touch under the speed of sound coexist. Bravo!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

9.25.10 Time Travel

The last couple of days of travel have set me up for success with regard to battling jet lag. I got 8 hours of sleep last night and I am good to go. I went out this morning and got some coffee, and breaky. I stopped at the market and got some fruit, bread, and eggs. I got my bike put together and it started to rain, surprise. I have full fenders and half inflated tires. Good enough, so I went for my first ride in France. It’s weird riding in another country. I don’t know what the rules are here. I rode on the road and no one said diddly to me. So I guess that’s ok. I found a trail out of town so I got on that and headed out. I had one guy say something to me but I had no idea what he was saying, he didn’t seem angry but all I could say was English, he shook his head and went on his way. I found a bike shop on my way back into town and got my tires filled properly. That was my first bit of Annecy. I suppose I will wait around for Ben and see what happens. Maybe go out and get into a bit of trouble tonight. We’ll see.

9.23.10 Fly to Amsterdam

Man what a cluster getting from Portland OR, to Annecy France. The Delta/KLM flight was a piece of cake, not stops or layovers to get extended . But I will never fly “EasyJet” they suck. My flight was delayed 3.5 hours which put me into Geneva 3.5 hours late. That meant the busses stopped running, that meant paying $250 more for a cab ride. That sucked! Not to mention having to lug this dam bike around everywhere. Mark my words. I did arrive in Annecy finally last night after midnight. When I got to the apartment Ben had left a key for me behind one of the downspouts on the building which has about 6 of them. I thought for sure at one point after looking behind 5 of them that I was going to be sleeping outside last night. But then of course there it was behind the 6th one. I stepped inside and it became clear to me that my adventure wasn’t over. This building was built in 1801 and had no elevator. What is ADA? There are some nice things about my country, not many but one of them is the requirement that buildings have a way to wheelchair foke up 3 flights, which can also be used as a way to get some skinny ass, lazy, american, and his 200 lbs of gear of 3 flights. Rather than using a narrow spiral staircase that I can barely fit up let alone a bike box. It was dark too so I could hardly see in front of my face. I set out to piece my way up to the apartment and made it up with all my gear, not before trying to, inadvertently, break into some unsuspecting old lady’s apartment. Really it’s a miracle that I am alive and here in Annecy with all my gear truly. But now that I am here it is awesome.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sad Day

The season is over. Well another season on the road is over. It’s time to get dizzy, dirty, and delinquent on the cross bike. But not before heading to France for some fridged beautiful climbs in the Alps and Pyrenees.
I finished the season in the middle of the pack at Eugene Celebration and found a new way to enjoy races. Instead of going off the front of the pack, going to the front of the pack and lifting the tempo to a punishing oxygen deficit pace. Create pain and discomfort for all to enjoy. I did that a little at Eugene at the Crit, and the road race. Note to self explore that more next season.
I have never felt like I did at the end of the season this year. During the road race we were clipping along on the first lap and people were getting organized during the first few laps as we do. Guys going off the front, guys chatting, guys moving to the front to avoid crashes. I tend to roll to the middle to find the guys I am going to talk with for most of day. Will and I found each other, and I suppose amoung 40 guys that isn’t tough. He and I have never had a cross word. Although we have annoyed each other at times for sure. We have come to some agreement and are descent friends with common goals now. We were chatting a bit and he mentioned that this was the last road race of the year. He actually said that "It almost brings a tear to my eye." I didn’t think about it, but ya, it does. It’s sad. The season is done and I’m disappointed. Usually by this time of year I am exhausted and done. But I kind of wish I had a few more road races left. I’m left instead looking back at the year and looking forward to the next.
I finished the year with 38 races between the track, mountain bike, road, and two stage races, with 3 DNF’s, and 8 top 5’s most of which came from the track. I finished the year pretty well on the track and revisited the short track on the MTB. Both of which I will mix in next year.
I’ve set goals for next year already. I’d like to log 800 hours between October’s and take cross to nationals in Bend. That will include the spring races, Cherry Blossom, and two other stage races. I still have my eyes on Elkhorn, then probably Cascade.
Not much more to say about my season. It was kind of blah because of illness, but a success in the end. I learned a great deal about what kind of rider I am. I defined my strengths and weakness with more clarity.
I hate to admit it but I am a sprinter, the results prove that. I am not a climber. So this winter will be spent leaning down and working on climbing faster. I will race to my strengths and train to my weaknesses. I also joined a new team this year. Team Oregon has picked me up and I am dawning there kit in 2011, I'll also be logging my midpack single speed finishes for Team O.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Eugene Celebration - Prologue

12:49, Slow and about middle 3rd of the bunch. It was an uphill prologue, fun and tough. I've never done a prologue before and it was not difficult to judge your effort. I just hovered this side of vomiting for as long as I could, which turned out to be 12' 49". I don't think a lot people understand though that for a 13' effort I put in a 2hr 30min ride. The warm up the cool down. It was a great day on the bike.

I absolutely love racing my bike and day after day of racing and relaxing. It's a tough life.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

OBRA State Road Championships 8.7.10

Well today wasn't much different than any other road race out there. There were hills, flats, wind, and a lot of pain! We started out with 36 riders. The weather was nice and at this point I have gotten used to riding/racing in the wind and it has become a nonissue. Climbing for some reason has become my foe for sure. I was in this race for all of about 5 miles. Just about then is when the road pitched up for about a mile and half and I went from pulling the field to watching those freaks in the front shatter the field. I dangled off the back for about half the climb and then saw them go over the crest and lost some motivation to try and bury myself with 65 miles to go. I figured the top was a bunch of rollers and wind so I could organize a group and start the chase. I am, at this point, so used to organizing chases that I am half decent at motivating people to work with me and stay the course when they have pulled the plug a dozen times in their head all ready. There is one thing that stands out about this race. I never quit or DNF'd in my head. I had no misconception about staying with them on that climb. I knew those skinny bastards would pin it on that climb, I just never figured they'd go so well on the flats and wind.

I could see groups in front of me organizing and new I had to catch them before it was one against many. I caught a Team O guy that was going well and we worked our selfs into a frenzy somewhere between ouch and passing out. We were closing in on a few of his guys and I thought we might have a chance to do better if some of his guys would join in. We picked up two of his guys and we worked our way through the shrapnel. as we moved through the distruction no one was willing to work. They had all given up and we(4) weren't even half way through the race. As we(4) closed in on a pretty big group I tried to motivate them into racing but the 6 or 8 of them had already pulled the cord and were just cruising back to the finish to dnf. Their negativity vortex sucked one our riders in. Then we were (3) again. When we approached the feed I knew I was in trouble we weren't half way through and I was half way through my liquids. I was trying to be good at staying up on my nutrition but I had only brought two bottles and I didn't have a neutral feed.

We dropped off the long descent, which was wide open, no breaks needed. We completed our first lap and we had picked up two more guys but they had decided drop out anyway and then we were 3. When we passed the finish line for the first time Candi said that were chasing 17 13min up the road. 13 min? F me! I am out of shape. I was guessing that was a lead group and chase 1 we were chase 2. Ouch. The guys I was with really wanted to push on and so did I. I came all this way to race and that's what I was going to do. I was seriously out of liquids by the time we road onto the first of two laps on the small circuit and cramping slightly. I was begging,and pleading for water from the Team O guys who had a feed. I was in a world of hurt by the second lap and started to cramp so bad that I had to get off my bike and stretch. I had never done that before. I'll be damned if I was going to push my bike. I caught up with the guys I was determined to finish with and we cruised across the finish line. I got 15th out of 36 starters and exactly half of our field DNF'd. It was a tough day on the bike for sure but isn't that bike racing?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Bird Phenomenon

Every spring something very weird happens to me. And if it's written here it has to have something to do with a bike, right?

Last Saturday while on my way home from my long ride I was passing by PIR. Wait I should back up a little bit. I was cruising down Marine Drive and listening to TAL. I had noticed that a bird was hovering above me and having difficulty maintaining its position in the wind. It's fluttering about is what I supposed attracted my eye to it. Now every spring for the past 5 years I've been the victim of a single solitary bird attack. Just one. This bird was making me nervous. I was keeping a very close eye on him. I remember thinking "oh shit here it comes," "this is it," "today is the day." I was hoping that it would be as benign as the rest had been. The bird to my surprise lost interest and flew off. Maybe that would be the attack, maybe I wouldn't have to worry about full contact wrestling with a bird this spring.

Back to PIR, cruising along, cooling down. I look to my right and see some black birds duking it out or playing or whatever they were doing but some impressive aerial maneuvers for sure. Deciding that I should pay attention where I was going, I focused my attention on the path in front of me. As soon as I took my eye off the birds I felt a breeze and heard a flapping and then my helmet got heavier and there was scratching and clawing and pecking. I turned real fast and swiped at whatever it was that was on me. When my eyes finally focused after whipping around it was a black bird bobbing and weaving, shucking and jiving, making quick work of me. Full contact bird wrestling, I couldn't escape it this year. I got away from where it didn't want me and it landed on a near by post to keep an eye on me. I was lucky I didn't wander out into traffic while defending myself from this unwarranted sneak attack.

Nature can be cruel sometimes.

Trickity Track

So because I've been out with this pneumonia thing and my lungs are half the useless bags they used to be, I have started doing other things on the bike. I've picked MTB'ing up again, I started racing the track, and I picked up surfing again.

Losing my track cherry.

I decided that I should do a track class before I just started racing. Let someone take me on the wall and learn about the lines and the races and the etiquette. Everything. I took the class from Meg. She does an awesome job. She gives the history of the track, and goes over everything you need to know to be on the track safely and to have fun. She answers questions brilliantly and she is way under paid.

After the "classroom" time she said lets get on our bikes (which by the way I rented mine) she said "Don't worry we won't go on the wall, just yet" She must have read the fear in all of our eyes. We rolled around on the apron and up on the track then off then on it was pretty awesome. We did a little more talking then, "You guys ready to go up the wall?" There wasn't one person jumping up and down but we had to do it sometime. Off we went, we rolled around on the apron got up on the track and we played follow the leader. As we were heading toward that wall man everything in your mind is telling you it's a bad idea at the slow speed we were going. We kept approaching and bam we are on the thing and the giggling ensued. Giggling from fear of sliding off the wall and giggling from elation and be on there and not sliding off, giggling and swearing. Good times. It took several passes on the wall for the "OH FUCK"s to stop and the giggling to subside. What a frickin' trip. I was hooked. I've been racing the track since. I went the following Friday.

In fact we had a ridiculous field in the beginners. There was a pro on the road in our field and some cat 1's and 2's on the road as well. Not fair. That pro was tough for sure! I tried staying on his wheel in the scratch race and evidently he is a surgeon 'cause he ripped my knee caps off, I lasted a little while but was no match for a guy who gets paid to ride a bike. I'm definitly looking forward to more time on the track.


After I finished 23 minutes back in the 3 field at Cherry Blossom I took a day off and got back into racing and training again. I wasn't going to do Eugene Roubaix but I figured the legs were doing ok and I was feeling somewhat recovered. I just kept on the bike that week and tried to flush the legs out.

The Friday night before my race I decided to go out with a friend and have a nice evening of trying to stay off my feet and drinking water. I didn't get to bed till 2 and I had to be up at 7 to get to the race. I didn't end up sleeping in my own bed that night and I didn't sleep very well because of it along with waking up with a stiff neck.

But I headed down to the race anyway. 2 hours in the car for a 2.5 hour race. Great. I still wasn't feel horrible, a little tired maybe but not horrible. The profile was supposed to be mostly flat with a gravel section that was a little tenuous. I think we were supposed to do 4 laps on this circuit and do this little bump in the road four times. It seemed easy enough. My plan was to just stay in the pack and hang out for the day.

But if you have read this blog before you know that's always the plan and I never stick to it. Eugene was no exception. I went out on the first and second lap just playing around trying to be active and have fun. What I should have been doing is staying put and just getting through the race. The third time up the hill I buried myself to get over that little bump with the group. When I was seeing double the stars on that tiny climb that sealed the deal for me. I wouldn't finish the race the next time through the gravel section I was going to pull off and miss the sprint and just head back to the car. I sat in the car and even fell asleep after getting my recovery food in me.

That evening and the evenings to follow I would develop pneumonia and bronchitis that would handcuff me. I haven't been able to do much racing or train like I would like because I've been recovering from pneumonia. The worst possible thing to happen to an endurance athlete. Ok maybe there are worse things, but it was shitty. The entire winter negated by one illness.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Cherry Blossom Day 3 Stage 3 and 4

This day was pretty uneventful. Time trials tend to be boring to recall and write about. I showed up on time and went about as hard as I possibly could and didn’t come in last or get passed.

The crit was uneventful too. Thank gawd! I executed my plan perfectly. I was going to make that announcer say my name. I knew it wouldn’t be because I won the race. Not with the two noodles I was working with. So I was going to go out for as many laps as it took to make him call out our team and my name and then get shelled directly.

I went out on the third lap. I didn’t know that there was a guy up the road already. That SOB was taking my glory and I would have to catch him to get the announcer to say our team name. But as we passed the start/finish line for the 4th time I heard the announcer say it and I went back to the pack. I was planning on getting shelled but I stayed on to the finish. Just trying to keep the rubber side down and get to the beer tent with all my skin. Mission accomplished.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cherry Blossom Stage 2

Todays stage was 54 miles of climbing, if there was a downhill section of that road I don't recall it. And not just because I blacked out more times than I care to share.

The race started out ok just like the rest we did the two small loops with punchy little climbs that softened up the legs that were already mush. The group stayed together just fine through those little loops. Then we made a left and up we went, again. That's when the screws were turned and I lost contact. I was cross eyed trying to stay in contact and inside the cars that couldn't see straight and was weaving all over the road. To make matters worse the back stretch had a false flat to a climb with a headwind, oh and the headwind by the way no matter which way you went today was there. Brutal! Demoralizing! We got to the next up hill bit, about a mile and half of dirt road that was a true tempo climb. That went on for 3 laps. Did it sound like it was all up hill? That's cause it was!

The last lap a group of us had formed out side the cars just trying to limit our damage, and save some face. When we got to the final climb, on the dirt stretch, I started to lose consciousness, no kidding, I dipped so far into the tank that I was seeing twice as many stars and begging for my mamma. That climb turned me into a little kid. The lights started to go and I grabbed everything I could find to eat, I even got a little nibble of my right index finger. Poured some water down my throat and finished the climb. Just as we topped out some pros went by me like I was standing still. Hell I thought, in my not so lucid state, that I was actually going downhill and wobbled a little in fright. Then I do remember one descent that I suppose we must have done before but couldn't tell ya. I was so out of it that I think my body was trying to crash the bike on the descent so that I wouldn't have do this anymore.

I collapsed at the finish! I am 22 min back

Cherry Blossom Pre Stage 2

I wake up to early! I had a good night sleep though. I went out and hung with some friends. One of which made some Strawberry/Chocolate/Mint/fat/fat/fat pie. I housed the thing. I couldn't stop eating last night. This morning wasn't much different. Woke up hungry and having to piss. The worst feeling, which one do you battle first.

I hit the foam roller and took a look at the weather. Although no need to look at a computer, it's staring me in the face from the big picture window. The worst combo for today. Hurricane force winds, raining and cool. Perfect! A hilly Belgium race in The Dalles. This race can only go wrong for mediocre rider like myself.

We will see how cross eyed I get today. I suspect I will need smelling salts after the stage today. Chad didn't do us any favors by taking 7 mile hill out of the line up. I think today will have people begging for 7 mile to come back. There is a 10 min sustained steep climb (shit it's really comin' down now!). There is going to be a mud bath on that climb today. I just hope I come out alive!

Ok I need to find my testicles and get to the race!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Cherry Blossom Stage 1

It was a gorgeous start to the day. A little breeze, about 60 degrees and sunny. Some high clouds. We got to reconnect with friends and chatter a little and shit talk with some rivals. We got placed right next to the Team O guys in the lot and jive talk a bit.

I do like stage racing though. You really get to test your legs and lungs. Here is where you find out if you've done things right over the past few months, and if it was worth alienating all those relationships during the winter. It's just a different atmosphere joking and relaxing, all I do for three days is ride my bike at a blistering pace, eat and sleep. I love it.

The race started out reasonable enough. A little wind, and little casual conversation, and then we hit the first climb. People shut up and turned the screws. The first time up that climb wasn't horrible but you could tell that it wasn't going to get any easy with every time up.

The strong guys were all marking each other and I was marking them just trying not to lose time and still trying to test if I am strong enough to hang with them. There are a group of guys, about 12 strong, that are all going to upgrade after this race and I am going to see where I fit with them before they leave.

The back stretch was casual each time, the group was getting smaller each time as the big climb became selective every time up it. The third time up the climb, I didn't think I was going to be able to make up with the lead group. Lap two had hurt me badly enough that I was in danger of getting dropped on that third climb. I redefined how deep into the pain cave I can really go today. And I guess once your fitness is there that really is what racing is about. How much can you hurt. I have realized that I have levels of pain to reach that I didn't know existed. I am sure there are layers still left to peel away.

I finished with the lead group of about 50 guys. It was a sprint finish and I didn't lose any time. Beautiful day, great race, tomorrow will likely be a different story.

Cherry Blossom Pre Stage 1

5:30 alarm, "I'm a Beggar in the morning" by The Barr Brothers. And I kinda am. I am begging for more sleep. I roll out of bed to make coffee and spew some words on this page before the big first stage of the weekend. Today appears to be a bit windy and that doesn't help matters. It looks to be an easterly which means that not only will we have a climb today but it will have a nasty headwind on the climb and on the descent. Perfect. Beautiful day though. It is awesome that the Fieldings let me stay here for this race. Guy, the Fieldings son, and I joked over email about me mowing the lawn whether it needs it or not because his dad has a sign up that says so. His dad didn't take at as a joke, he said the lawnmower's in the garage... So I guess I am mowing the lawn after stage one today. The life of an amateur bike racer just isn't as glamorous as we'd like. When was the last time Hincapie mowed his own lawn after a stage race? Or at all! Then there is the fact that I'm going to work on Monday, or at least I'm showing up.

Let's hope I show up at the race today. I don't feel so confident this morning about how this is going to go. I know there are some guys that are coming that plan on tearing me apart and everyone else for that matter. It's not personal, they're just stronger than me... for now. I'm just trying not to lose time today. But I am as tapered, tuned, and as thin as I can be. So what races today is what I am no excuses. This is one test that I did study for, unlike the PE, and today we find out if I am bringing a knife to a gunfight.

Monday, April 19, 2010

BMC is one of our sponsors here's what I think...

Turns out it doesn't have a power multiplier like I'd hoped, still just my legs getting me up the hills. But what it does have is an innate ability to get the rider downhill fast... this allows non beanpole/strong climbers to catch back on again and again with little effort. Seriously this bike descends like a stone, very stiff, very responsive. Screw "feel the road"... "be the road" with this bike.

Kings Valley 4.10.10

This race was difficult, there really isn't much more to say. I didn't do much, I tried one break and got shot back to the field by the wind where I remained for the duration of the ride making sure I didn't get shot out the back. I went into this race with tired legs and was looking forward to the pain, but I was hoping to be a bit more active. That didn't happen, instead it was a sit in and watch everyone else have fun/inflict pain. All in all a good day spent in the sun with good friends. Nice job to the guys who actually raced today.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Peace of Cake Road Race

I woke up to rain beating against my window and tin roof in the back. It was still dark out about 5:30am just before my alarm went off. I rolled out of bead and started the prerace routine. Coffee, food, email, pin the numbers on, and pack up the bike and clothes. It’s been a few years since I’ve done POC and the last time I did it I got a podium spot and was looking forward to what this race would offer. I headed north to Woodland Washington. I was on pace to be there my normal two hours ahead of time.

When I arrived in Woodland and got to the race site, it was empty, eerie. I check the race website on my phone and sure as shit, the race wasn’t in Woodland anymore they had moved it to Oregon south of Salem, now an hour and half away. This is not good! I’ve had races before when I didn’t have any warm up and that didn’t go well. I got shelled on the first lap. I get back on the highway and start my cannon ball run to the new race site. Had I left from the house in the right direction I would have spent an hour in the car not 2.

I got to the race site in time to get dressed, eat a little, sign in, and get a quick ramp up. The weather for this race was going to be the most challenging thing about this race. I had just spent 5 hours duking it out with some strong riders on Saturday and now I had my second cat three race in wind that would like to blow the lettering off my kit. The rain only added to the pleasant morning. 10:15am race starts.

We start out at a reasonable pace only because we are mandated. Then once the lead car gives us the go ahead the fury was unleashed. Man even the tail wind hurt here. First lap we must have shelled half our field. We mad a left turn that enter the pain cave, a road that had open fields on both sides so the wind could really wip through there. It guttered us all. No eshalon. We had to do that son of a bitch three more times. We made another left turn into the head wind and that was like hitting a wall of wind and water that sent us all backwards.

The second lap was when the attacks started flying. Even I was trying to get in on some of the action. Tired legs and all. Nothing I was in or around stuck. It was right back to the bunch for me. The race pretty much went like that for the duration. Chase and counter, chase and counter. My goal of staying with the main bunch went well. I was happy that I got to tough days in a row in. It hurt and I must have quit that race 40 times but I restarted 41 and it’s that last restart that really matters.

There was a breakaway of about 8 guys that stuck on the last lap and I got top 20 in the field sprint.

Great race, very euro.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Woke up again before the alarm with the melatonin fading from my veins. I had a much more mellow morning getting my things together, aware that I have lots of time to get my things together. I am riding solo, or so I thought today. I shot Ben a message to see if was going to join and he was in as long as he had a coffee stop.

We arrived a little later, 7:30ish and we were a little slow getting going. I had an interesting conversation with the lady that was taking our money for the race.

Me: “Do we have to sign a new waver if we cat up?”
Her: “Nope, what’s your name?”
Me: “Petross”
Her Friend: “What does it mean when you cat up?”
Me: “I went up a category, and it means that I abandoned all my friends and relationships”
Her Friend: “Mumble Mumble…”
Me: “What? You have to speak slow for cyclist. All of our blood is in our legs.”
Her: Shit eating grin, “Where did you say all your blood is?”
Me: “Wow a little early…”

It put a smile on my face for sure. But we were rolling by 8:30.

Warmed up and ready to start my first Cat 3 race. There was really nothing to report. The race was so different than in the 4’s. There really wasn’t any sitting in. The pace is much higher and there is a lot of chasing and breaking. The boys are better bike handlers. It’s is just a better group to ride with. Longer. I was able to work at the front and tried to get out on a couple of breaks. I made the final break at the bigger climb after the dam and I finished pretty. I ended up in the final group with the leaders. I was happy about the finish and that I didn’t get dropped and was never really in trouble. I felt like I was part of the race. I was happy with the day. I did one extra lap at the end.


The race this weekend: BB#1

I went for a ride with will on Saturday. My legs were wasted. I had to turn it into a recovery spin. Sunday morning came around and I was nervous for some reason. I got up before the alarm. I slept well do to the fact I had a melatonin before I went to bed. But didn't feel rested. I wondered around the house in a fog and tried to get my things together. 5am comes early. Will and I left my house about 6am in hunt for coffee. I didn't realize that we were looking for a place where Jesus himself served coffee. Man that dude is a coffee snob! I don't get it but ok dude let's wait out in the cold for 20 min and wait for the coffee shop to open. With coffee and muffin in hand we finally head toward the race. We arrived early about 7ish and they are still setting everything up. Our launch time... 9:10. I step out of the car and there is a smell in the air that I had forgotten about the odor of porta-potty's percolating in the air that is so common at these and all races. I have brewed up a lil concoction and I've got to hit the porta potty.

My plan was to stay put the whole day and not go up the road. I did and it was difficult for sure. I was able to save my legs for the finish and get a fourth place. That was enough points to put into the threes. Stoked.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sublime Sublimity 2.20.10

This week was the early addition of a second day of a dedicated LT work. Tuesday morning was spent punishing my lungs, heart, legs, and whipping my mind into shape for suffering. The rest of the time was spent loosening the legs up for Saturday. I had 10 hours on my legs going into Sub-Sub. I felt normal, well as normal as possible. I am still using these early season races to get me into shape, while trying to get points for an upgrade. Tough to do. This is still my first real season after coming off a good winter. I am excited to see how the plan pans out.

Saturday started like any other race day prep. I woke up with out the alarm and felt like I good night sleep. I wandered out to the garage to get the bike cleaned up and prepped for the race. I ended up taking it apart working on the bottom bracket, shortening up some of the cables and cleaning the bike thoroughly. After all I am on my “B” bike after last weekends fiasco with the bike flying off the car at 70mph. Will and I were set to launch from the house at 10. I would have liked to been off my feet most of the morning the day of a race but I was walking around doing laundry, working on my bike, packing, doing dishes, and just generally being my ADD self. I got energy people what am I going to do?

Will and I launched on time and headed south for Sub-Sub. Beautiful weather too. You would have thought it was July had you not rolled down the window. The heater was on but the sun was up and just a blue bird day. Wow what a beautiful day. We got there around 11:30, making pretty good time. We lounged around and BS’d with the other guys on the team. We got suited up and got on our bikes to roll out we were going to have an hour on our legs before race started. These races for me are all about time and training, trying to get ready for Cherry Blossom. I wasn’t nervous about this race. I’ve noticed that one thing about this year is that the preparation for the season has left my nerves in the dust. I feel prepared and I feel like if or when there is a move I can follow. I have confidence in my body this year.

The normal whistle sounded and we meandered through the country side. I was in the back a bit out of position. I wasn’t happy about it but I figured the first climb I would be able to work up to the front. That plan almost worked. I got stuck behind this “Pat” was have trouble with the neutral descending roll out. Oh boy he can’t hold a line, I’ve got to get around this person. I won’t say that this field is sketch because of the 5’s because I know of some 2’s that can’t hold a line or don’t know some of the simplest things like telling people “STANDING!” to ensure that you don’t wipe out an entire field because you’re stretching you legs. Hughes found his way over to me and I locked onto his wheel like a little leach. “Mush!” Hughes and he did. That boy pulled my ass right to front making his way through some of the smallest cracks that Emmit Smith would’ve shied from. If Al did only one thing right that day it was his Concord escort to the front of the Peleton. I didn’t leave that position the rest of the race… well almost.

I had a plan of course, and if you’ve read more than this page blog you know that that plan is always to stay in the bunch and not attack! And I swear I am getting closer to that coming to fruition. The first lap was a painfully slow pace. There were no attacks to speak of. A few fliers but nothing worth writing home about. We approached the first steep pitch and real test of how the boys would handle the rise in elevation. I danced on those pedals and had little to no trouble, in fact I remember oo take it easy only go as hard as necessary to stay in the front and not off the front. There was one guy who flew off the front just before the climb and he went backwards so fast you would have thought he was descending. We all made it to the top for the most part and descended the back together. The second lap I was at the front for some of the pace making trying to deter attacks but I didn’t want to spend the next 40 min pulling the bunch right before the finish so I faded back and watched. We slowed to a crawl. My plan was working and I was sticking to it, regardless of how painful it was.

We approached the steep pitch again and I was going to just stay in the front keep an eye on things and then I saw some guys go up the road. Three guys, I had a lane, they were pulling away, they looked strong, they looked good, I exploded and went. People tried to follow us but they couldn’t respond. We crested the top of the climb, I looked back, we had a conversation, well as much of a conversation as you can have while coughing up lung, “Are we going?” the response was the junior looking back and seeing the same thing I did, a huge gap, and a nod of the head. With that we dropped the hammer. Until someone rides up to you that you don’t know and says "hey you really hurt us" you may not be able to relate to this. It is a good feeling having that kind of form even if it is in the 4’s.

We continued down the descent as we crested one of the rollers I looked back for the second time and saw a nice sized gap with the field shattered. It felt good to realize that the four of us were causing it, and we were going to try and cause more of it. I was spun out on my 53x11 on that descent. We left with about 8 miles to go and we got caught with about 3 or 4 to go. I tried to sit in the rest of the way to the finish. The finish was a typical sprinters finish with a nasty little pitch at the end. I had nothing left in my legs from that attack. I got 18th.

Great day on the bike! Beautiful day. Great race… I will learn to stick to the plan at some point.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cherry Pie 2.13.10

I love the calmness of the start of races. The pain that is going to ensue is inevitable and we all joke and laugh and talk about everything else but the race before hand. I like the warm up. I like seeing old friends I haven’t seen all winter because they have or we have been doing “secret” training. I like the early season races because it’s a mystery how you will do. I like meeting new people in the peloton. After all we are all moving together in one direction for a couple of ours. No reason to be quiet and not take advantage of hanging out with people with like interests.

The race started and we were off with a 1 mile roll out. I was in the front right away trying to help push the pace up to something more race worthy. My legs were feeling pretty good too. I gotta say. I was really happy with my position the entire race. We were definitely stringing the group out there for a bit which was nice to see and I was part of that.

Sean made his way up to the front of the race just about the section when the road started in with the rollers. There we were all just sitting up front chatting away and then the road pitched up a bit. I stood on the pedals and everyone was behind me first 100’ then a little more then I had a gap and wasn’t really pushing that hard so I pushed it to a LT zone and got a little bigger gap all the way through the rollers section. I thought someone might try and bridge up but no one could make it up. I saw one guy try and so I stayed out to try and let me bridge and see how we did. I felt pretty good. But after the roller section my gap wasn’t growing anymore, I sat up. I stayed in the pack for the remainder of the race. That made for a pretty boring race. The wind picked up on the back section so nothing got away and no one tried. It came down to the last section of road after the right hand turn. I bridged the lead group gap but was gassed by the hill and came in 20th. The best position of all of our guys. I wish I wouldn’t have tried that flier. I am going to have to get smarter. The next race I am not going to try and get away. I am going to sit in the entire time!

Monday, February 8, 2010

2.8.10 Prerace Cherry Pie

I have less than a week to the first race of the year. I am going to make a huge effort this year to blog all the single day races. Last year I tried but with little success. I can blog from my iPhone now so that should make it easier.

I’m racing for a new team this year. Ten Guys Named Alex. Sean suckered me into the group so that the kit costs were lower. It is a good group of guys to ride with. I like the dynamic of the group, I’d say there are some of them that are more synical and bigger smart asses then me even.

This winter has been good in spite of my neck issues. I’ve had some high teens weeks leading up to a 21 hour week. I’ve been maintaining about 13 hours on the bike since. I feel like my volume has been sufficient and frequent enough now that I can prepare amply for Elkhorn. It’s scary to say and admit. But I have no excuses. If I don’t do well, I messed up my training plan, I am not fit enough, I’m not genetically meant to race, whatever it is, it won’t be from a lack of effort.

This week is going to be a normal week going into Cherry Pie. No taper or special week preparation. The plan is to use the early season races to boost my fitness for Cherry Blossom. I got a power tap this winter, and I just started doing power intervals last week. Those have been going well. While my LT threshold endurance isn’t high, I am hoping that my aerobic endurance is good enough that everyone else will be tired at the end of the race and I will have lots left? We will see. Top ten finishes would be what I am looking for. Points; that’s all I want, lots of racing and lots of points.

I’ve been fighting off a looming cold this last week. I noticed it last Thursday and I’ve been powering down zinc and vitamin C. It has yet to get a grip on me but I am afraid that it will wait till Friday and leave me weak and tired on Saturday. Time will tell. I am excited for the season to get here!